Research and Innovation Strategies

28 October 2014
  • Bookmark and Share

1 12Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3), an opportunity for design

BEDA President Isabel Roig outlines how RIS3 provides a significant opportunity to integrate design into Smart Specialisation Strategies and calls for your input as BEDA maps the involvement of design in RIS3 across Europe.

The Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth sets out the targets that the European Union is to meet by the year 2020 in the fields of research and innovation, climate change and energy, employment, education and reducing poverty.

The European Commission has made smart specialisation a prior condition for investment in research and innovation co-financed by European funds. The Member States and the regions are required to draw up research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3 strategies). In accordance with the methodology established by the European Commission, these strategies should support those economic and knowledge specialisations that best match their potential for innovation, based on the resources and capabilities in each territory:

‘National/Regional Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3 strategies) are integrated, place-based economic transformation agendas that do five important things:

» They focus policy support and investments on key national/regional priorities, challenges and needs for knowledge-based development.
» They build on each country/region’s strengths, competitive advantages and potential for excellence.
» They support technological as well as practice-based innovation and aim to stimulate private sector investment.
» They get stakeholders fully involved and encourage innovation and experimentation.
» They are evidence-based and include sound monitoring and evaluation systems.’

Regarding key technologies, RIS3 places emphasis on Advance Manufacturing, among others. It is worth taking a look at the Commission Staff Working document, ‘Advancing Manufacturing-Advancing Europe’ (, published in March 2014, which refers to the Action Plan on Design Driven Innovation and promotes the concept of a design-driven manufacturing environment:

‘Mass customisation requires the integration of design and manufacturing. A design-driven manufacturing environment can help to reduce time-to-market for new technologies. Design tools are important for the resource-efficient manufacturing of complex structures as underlined by the Action Plan on Design Driven Innovation’.

RIS3 is a tremendous opportunity for integrating design into the Smart Specialisation Strategies drawn up by the Member States and its regions, as part of their research and innovation or creative industries policies.

As an example, the region of Catalonia has formulated its RIS3CAT, placing the emphasis on key competitive factors such as innovation, technology and design. RIS3CAT focuses on seven leading sectors whose importance and potential enable them to act as cornerstones for economic recovery and to reorient the Catalan economy towards a growth model that is smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive. Design-based industries and Cultural and experience-based industries (which includes the design sector) are two of these seven leading sectors. BCD is now working closely with the Catalan Government, the business sector and the design sector in order to start implementing it.

Catalonia seems to be the only region from Spain which has included design explicitly in its RIS3.

At the following link you can find a benchmark of the RIS3 of all regions in Europe:

We would like to start mapping which regions in Europe have successfully put design into their RIS3, in order that BEDA members can share information and learn from each other, and see how BEDA, as a pan-European platform, together with its members could use these examples for influencing other regions and the new European Commission policies and programmes.

Please let us know if the RIS3 from your country/region has considered design, as a leading sector, capability, target market, driver or in any other sense, and if you have been involved in its conceptualization, or will be involved in its implementation, by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , REF-RIS3.

Isabel Roig
President BEDA
28th October 2014

Contact BEDA  Koloniënstraat 56, 1000 Brussels (Belgium) t. (+32) 2 217 39 77  f. (+32) 2 217 99 72
CoFunded CEPEU

1_facebook   1_linkedin   1_flickr